Association between delayed gadolinium-enhanced MRI of cartilage (dGEMRIC) and joint space narrowing and osteophytes: a cohort study in patients with partial meniscectomy with 11 years of follow-up
To examine the association between the relaxation time (T1Gd) of delayed gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging of cartilage (dGEMRIC) and grade of tibiofemoral joint space narrowing (JSN) and osteophytosis 11 years later, in a cohort of meniscectomized patients.Patients (n = 45) aged 35-50 who had undergone an arthroscopic partial medial meniscectomy 1-6 years earlier, due to degenerative meniscal tear, were examined using dGEMRIC. These patients had no cartilage changes defined as deep clefts or visible bone at the time of arthroscopy. Eleven years later (12-16 years after surgery) 34 of these subjects (76%) were evaluated by weight-bearing knee radiography, and tibiofemoral joint changes were graded according to the Osteoarthritis Research Society International Atlas.Lower T1Gd in the medial compartment was associated with higher grade of medial JSN (grade 0, 351 ms; grade 1, 386 ms; grade 2, 342 ms; grade 3, 259 ms [P for trend < 0.001]) and more osteophytosis (score 0, 371 ms; score 1, 389 ms; score 2, 354 ms; score 3, 289 ms; score 4, 265 ms; score 5, 275 ms [P for trend = 0.001]). Lower T1Gd in the lateral compartment was associated with higher grade of lateral JSN (grade 0, 436 ms; grade 1, 346 ms [P for trend = 0.026]).The current study suggests that lower T1Gd measured with dGEMRIC of medial and lateral femoral cartilage is associated with higher grade of JSN 11 years later, and medially, also with more osteophytosis.